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Are there any numbers out there to justify the hype? Let’s go on a little investigation.

If you’re a regular reader of this blog, or in fact any publisher dealing in digital or marketing, you’ll likely be well versed in the world of beacons, iBeacons and other near-field communications (NFC).

If not, head on over to this handy beginner’s guide which should bring you up to speed.

Examples of beacons being used in everything from retail to one-off music or sporting events are becoming more frequent as the months roll on. It’s an exciting time, and there’s a genuine belief that this technology really will build the bridge between offline and online marketing.

Which is probably the reason why every individual use is so widely reported in the news. How many articles will you read proclaiming ‘2014 as the year of the iBeacon’ by the end of the year? Beacons are still in a trial period and it’s hard to tell if there is genuinely a massive push to use the technology or if online hype is perhaps blowing things out of proportion.

It’s possibly too early to say. Although the first NFC enabled phone came out in 2006, retail trials didn’t begin until 2012. It then wasn’t until the end of 2013 that Apple began rolling out its own version of NFC (iBeacons) across all of its US stores.

That was only eight months ago. However in this short period of time, the iBeacon has penetrated the media, become the brand name widely recognised as the product name (joining Hoover and Sellotape) and has inspired a wave of marketers to adopt the technology and trial their own efforts.

How successful have some of these trials been? I did a little digging…


InMarket is a company installing iBeacons in more than 200 US grocery stores including Safeway and Giant Eagle. These beacons send notifications via a number of advertising partner apps, like Conde Nast’s Epicurious and Gannet’s Key Ring.

According to an article in 9to5Mac from June 2014, interactions with advertised products increased 19 times after roll-out. This means an almost 20 times increase in the number of users interacting with in-app advertised products thanks to iBeacon notifications. 

  • App usage was also 16.5 times greater for users who received an iBeacon notification vs those who didn’t.
  • Users receiving an iBeacon notification were also 6.4 times more likely to keep an app on their phone. 

A later article published last month reveals stats from InMarket’s partnership with Hillshire Brands. The company witnessed a 20 times increase in purchase intent for its American Craft Link Sausages, which meant a 500% increase over the CPG average for mobile ad engagement.

American Craft also achieved a 36% increase in brand awareness and a lift in overall sales between April to June 2014 in the 10 US markets where iBeacons are deployed.

The campaign also experienced approximately 6,000 in-store engagements in its first 48 hours.


The US music festival that took place in June 2014 worked with Aloompa to set up 100 beacons across its 700 acre ground. This resulted in more than 97,000 push notifications being sent via its official iPhone app.

Festival Insights reveals the following data from Aloompa:

  • 20% of app users opted-in for push notifications 
  • Each of these users spent 102 minutes interacting with content
  • Each user received an average of 12.6 notifications over four days.

The company didn’t collect any personal data about users and all the data was collected anonymously but the festival organisers were able to track the most popular stage, the average length people spent in specific areas of the festival, how many users went inside VIP and other areas.

The 'What Stage' was the most popular venue, 1,980 users went into the VIP section and the average time spent in the VIP section was 102 minutes. These figures in isolation may not be particularly helpful, but they do reveal an insight into what can be achieved with iBeacons and how data such as this can be used for future planning of major events.

For more on event marketing using iBeacons, check out David Moth’s article on RFID and iBeacons.

Our Festival of Marketing event in November is a two day celebration of the modern marketing industry, featuring speakers from brands including LEGO, Tesco, Barclays, FT.com and more.

Christopher Ratcliff

Published 26 August, 2014 by Christopher Ratcliff

Christopher Ratcliff is the editor of Methods Unsound. He was the Deputy Editor of Econsultancy. You can follow him on Twitter or connect via Google+ and LinkedIn

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Comments (5)

Francesca Nicasio

Francesca Nicasio, Retail Blogger at Vend

Great article, Christopher!

I've all seen plenty of posts about how game-changing beacons can be for retailers but I haven't been able to see actual numbers and results and until now. So thanks for publishing.

And hopefully we can get more data on the performance of beacons. I'm particularly interested in the long term results of the technology. People can start off excited to use a retailer's app because it's new and all, but whether they continue to use it after the novelty wears off remains to be seen.

about 2 years ago


Conxa Rodà

Thank you for this useful insight. Indeed, still more time and evaluation are needed to assess the social use of iBeacons.
I recommend this list of iBeacons use cases to be found at http://www.mobisfera.com/summary-real-cases-close-real-using-ibeacons/?lang=en

In museums, we are just starting to test these new iBeacons waters

Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya, Barcelona

about 2 years ago

Neha Mallik

Neha Mallik, Content Producer at Mobstac

Great post! There is so much happening on the iBeacon front now, it's almost unbelievable. Yet actual implementations on the field do not match with the hype around iBeacon technology.

This is primarily because there is too little information available to businesses, about how to implement beacons. Our Beacon Primer Webinar series is focussed on helping businesses with that. We have one next week, on "How to Deploy and Manage Beacons". I am sure you will find it interesting. http://www.beaconstac.com/beacon-primer-webinar-series

about 2 years ago


Cecil Carter, Owner at Storescort

Hey we've recently had interest in creating iBeacon apps.
Currently doing a survey of how many people think an iBeacon app for small stores would be useful.

Check out our link if you think so: shopping.slingput.com


almost 2 years ago


Cecil Carter, Owner at Storescort

almost 2 years ago

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